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We’re fortunate enough to live in a housing community that has a huge pool and splash pad about 2 minutes walk from our house. And with the sweltering weather we’ve been having here in North Carolina, we’ve definitely been making use of the pool as much as we possibly can.

Whenever we’re spending the day at the pool, I try to pack pretty light so I don’t have to lug too much stuff home while trying to push a stroller housing a tired, irritable toddler. However, there are 7 toddler pool necessities that I never leave home without:

7 Must-Have Items for a Day at the Pool With a Toddler

Swimways Baby Spring Float

I’ve spoken before about my love of the Swimways Baby Spring Float. Young children can often feel quite nervous in the water. The Swimways Baby Spring Float is the perfect way to introduce them to the water in a safe, secure way.

My son loves the blow-up octopus that makes up the activity center of the Swimways float, while one of my favorite features is the sun shade. I also love how it packs up into a small, convenient carry case (as you can see in the picture above.) You can get your own Swimways Baby Spring Float at Target.

Swim shoes

The concrete surrounding the pool can get quite hot and slippery, so I always make sure I pack a pair of swim shoes for my son. These stop little feet from getting sunburned, and the grip on the bottom helps to avoid tumbles.

Hooded towel

My son received a hooded towel for Christmas from his nanny, and it’s one of the best things ever. It’s impossible to get a toddler to keep a regular beach towel wrapped around them, so I love how the hooded towel is almost impossible to escape from. The tricky part is actually getting him to take it off when we get home!


Kind of a given, but I always make sure to pack a good amount of snacks and drinks whenever we have a pool day. Our community pool does have a vending machine but I’m not about to spend $3 on a bottle of water that I can bring from home for free.

I always bring snacks like goldfish crackers, fruit, Mott’s fruit chews, etc., because playing in the pool is tiring work for a kid! Avoid a hangry toddler by always packing lots of snacks.

Swim diapers

Accidents happen, and there’s nothing worse than having to cut your toddlers pool fun short because you don’t have a spare swim diaper. Regular diapers just won’t cut it when it comes to the pool, so make sure you’ve always got at least a couple of spare swim diapers and a pack of wipes packed.

Cloth bandaids

This one might sound unusual, but cloth bandaids are a pool day must-have. With the slippery concrete, excitement of being at the pool and kids running at top speed in all directions, it’s inevitable that someone is going to end up with a grazed knee eventually.

I find that plastic bandaids are fairly useless at the pool because they don’t stick and slip straight off (there’s not much worse than seeing a used bandaid floating by you, either…) so I always stick to cloth bandaids for pool day.